Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 20 Jan 2013.
While the European Court of Human Rights this week upheld the right of workers to wear religious symbols, after a British Airways check-in clerk was sent home because the small cross she was wearing contravened the airline’s uniform policy, a different storm is brewing in Australia over the right of religious organisations to only employ staff who share their religious beliefs.
Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, who is overseeing reform of Australia’s anti-discrimination laws, said on Wednesday that exemptions for religious bodies in relation to employment had been in place for many years and would continue under Labor’s proposal.
But independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich claimed that “By allowing hospitals and schools to practise discrimination the Prime Minister is supporting breeding grounds for homophobia” – a claim many Australians regard as both offensive and ignorant.
One thing is certain: you won’t find Greens MPs employing political staff who are members of the Liberal and National Parties.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.